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William Joseph MARTIN

B: 1st Dec 1865  D: 4th Mar 1913

Born: 1st December 1865 at Coonatto Station in South Australia and baptised in the Coonatto Station Church on 25 December 1868 along with his brother Benjamin.

Married: William married Ellen Josephine Elena Callary on 18 February 1892 in The Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Quorn, South Australia.

Died: 4th March 1913 on Murnpeowie Station on the Strzelecki Track in South Australia while delivering the mail.  He is believed to be buried in Farina.


The historical information and photographs for William Joseph Martin was generously provided by his family. The Farina Restoration Group greatly appreciates this information and gladly publishes it for the information of the public. If anyone has further information to contribute,  please contact Brett and Shellie Cummings, descendants of William, on

Father: Michael Martin was born about 1841 in Ireland and believed died on 1 August 1903 at Hornsdale, South Australia.  His father was Michael Martin.

Mother: Caroline McCudden was born about 1845 in Londonderry, Ireland and died on 8 June 1890 in Adelaide, South Australia.  Caroline was the daughter of Thomas McCudden.


Philip Laurence Martin was born on 31 December 1892 in Arkaba, South Australia.  He died at the age of four on 1 April 1897 in Marianville near Quorn, South Australia.

Myrtle Nellie Martin was born on 29 January 1895 in Farina, South Australia.  She died on 18 October 1973 at Prospect in South Australia.  She married Albert (Bert) Charles Wilson on 11 September 1913, in Farina, South Australia.  He was the son of John Wilson and Emily Caroline Beer.  Albert was born on 27 February 1891 in Gordon, South Australia and died on 5 December 1966 in Kilburn, Adelaide, South Australia.  Both are buried in the Dudley Park Cemetery in Adelaide, South Australia.

William Leslie Martin was born on 7 February 1899 in Birdsville, Queensland.  He died on 3 June 1973 in Hawker, South Australia.  He married Emily Elizabeth Chapman on 19 November 1928 in Farina, South Australia.  Emily was the daughter of Charles Kemble Chapman and Elizabeth Ann Gill.  Emily was born on 9 December 1906 in Blinman, South Australia and died on 19 February 1987 in Hawker, South Australia.  They are both buried in the Hawker Cemetery.

Thomas Benjamin MARTIN was born on 19 April 1900 in Birdsville, Queensland. He died on 27 April 1973 in Jamestown, South Australia.  He married Evelyn Mabel Reid on 19 September 1929 in Farina, South Australia.  She was the daughter of Michael Reid and Sarah Russell.  Evelyn was born on 1 October 1911 in Hawker, South Australia and died on 13 November 1980 in Jamestown, South Australia.  Both are buried in the Jamestown Cemetery.

Eileen Elsie MARTIN was born on 3 August 1902 in Queensland.  She never married.  Eileen died on 1 January 1950 and was buried in the Dudley Park Cemetery, South Australia.

Alice Lottie Martin was born on 13th July 1904 in Queensland. She never married. Alice died on 17th July 1979 in Port Pirie, South Australia and is buried in the Port Pirie Cemetery.



Benjamin Martin was born on 14 November 1867 at Coonatto Station in South Australia.  He worked as the manager of Humpty Doo Station, Northern Territory before his death on 4 February 1921.  He is buried in Darwin, Northern Territory.

Thomas James Martin was born on 20 February 1870 at Coonatto Station in South Australia and died on 21 April 1896 in Katherine River, Northern Territory and is buried at the Katherine Memorial Cemetery, Katherine, Northern Territory

Alice Martin was born in 28 April 1872 in Pinda, South Australia.  She married Charles Hall on 1 April 1891 in Burnside, South Australia.  Alice died in Eurelia, South Australia on 28 March 1917.  Charles died on 21 August 1919 in Glenelg, South Australia.

Caroline Martin was born in 14 June 1874 at Pinda, South Australia.  Caroline married Percival William Burton on 11 November 1914 at Carunna Station, South Australia.  She died on 23 April 1923 in Port Augusta, South Australia and was buried there.  Percy died on 17 Oct 1919 in Port Augusta.

John Martin was born in 17 January 1877 in Willochra, South Australia.  He married Mary Catherine Cummings on 29 December 1909 at Carrieton, South Australia.  John died on 1 January 1923 in Port Augusta, South Australia.  Mary died on 10 October 1970 in Port Augusta, South Australia.  Both are buried at the Port Augusta Cemetery.

Catherine Margaret Martin was born on 9 April 1879 in Willochra, South Australia.  She died in Pinda, South Australia on 28 March 1883, she was nearly four years old.

1 Michael MARTIN b:1841 d: 1/8/1903
   + Caroline McCUDDEN b: 1845 d: 8/6/1890
      2 William Joseph MARTIN 1/12/1865 d: 4/3/1913
         + Ellen Josephine Elena CALLARY b: 8/11/1871 d: 13/8/1949
            3 Philip Laurence Martin b: 31/12/1892 d: 1/4/1897
            3 Myrtle Nellie Martin b: 29/1/1895 d: 18/10/1973
            3 William Leslie Martin b: 7/2/1899 d: 3/6/1973
               + Emily Elizabeth Chapman b: 9/12/1906 d: 19/2/1987
                  4 William John Martin b: 22/8/1929 d: 6/2/1944
                  4 Muriel Irene Sylvia Martin b: 26/9/1931 d: 12/12/2015
                  4 Ronda Elizabeth Martin b: 23/12/1933 d: 16/10/1962
                  4 Valma Rosemary Martin b: 4/4/1942 d: 11/10/2013
                  4 Last child, a daughter, still living, was born in 1946
            3 Thomas Benjamin MARTIN b: 19/4/1900 d: 27/4/1973
               +  Evelyn Mabel Reid b: 1/10/1911 d: 13/11/1980
                  4 James (Jim) Reginald Martin b: 11/6/1927 d: 26/9/2009
                  4 Geofrey Benjamin (Biffy) Martin b: 10/2/1930 d: 13/4/1989
                  4 Daphne Fay Martin b: 9/3/1932 d: 4/8/2016
                  4 Second daughter, still living, b: 1934
                  4 Third daughter, still living, b: 1939
                  4 Fourth daughter, still living, b: 1944
            3 Eileen Elsie MARTIN b: 3/8/1902 d: 1/1/1950
            3 Alice Lottie Martin b: 13/7/1904 d: 17/7/1979
      2 Benjamin MARTIN b: 14/11/1867 d: 4/2/1921
      2 Thomas James MARTIN b: 20/2/1870 d: 21/4/1896
      2 Alice MARTIN b: 28/4/1872 d: 28/3/1917
      2 Caroline MARTIN b: 14/6/1874 d: 23/4/1923
      2 John MARTIN b: 17/1/1877 d: 1/1/1923
      2 Catherine Margaret MARTIN b: 9/4/1879 d: 28/3/1883

This Biography is a summary extracted from the full document which is available to view in the “Further Reading” tab.


William Joseph Martin was born on 1 December 1865 at Coonatto Station in South Australia and baptised in the Coonatto Station Church on 25 December 1868.

 William married Ellen Josephine Elena Callary on 18 February 1892 in The Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Quorn, South Australia.  William was 27 years old and Ellen was 21 years old when they married.

William worked his entire life out in the station country of South Australia and Queensland.  By following where their children were born, it would seem they were working their way north from Quorn to Farina then up the Birdsville Track to Birdsville.  Most likely working at different stations along the way.  It took them seven years and three children to get there.  It is now 1899.

By all accounts William was a coach driver for Cobb and Co in Queensland.  Cobb and Co were contracted by the Postmaster to deliver mail to many of the towns in western Queensland, including the Birdsville run.

The first time we find William on an Electoral Roll was in 1903.  He was 37 years old, married and by then they had a family of five children.  He worked as a Shepherd and a Boundary Rider.  They were in located at Thundapurty Station in Queensland.  His occupation was a coach driver. He worked on or out of Thundapurty Station for many years before moving to Farina.  Thundapurty was on Durrie Station and it is now known as Coonyncera.

William and Ellen arrived in back in Farina around 1911 and soon after became the Mail Driver for Mr McConville in January 1912.  This job entailed delivering the mail to the stations along the Strzelecki Track that runs from Farina to Innamincka.

 The mail route was broken into three sections, Farina to Murnpeowie a distance of 90 miles, then from Murnpeowie to Box Flat a distance of 60 miles and the last section from Box Flat to Innamincka, a distance of 150 miles.  300 miles in all.

William was the coach driver for the Farina to Murnpeowie section for 14 months.  The original track went directly to many of the station homesteads.  It proved to be a fateful job as he was killed by a lightning strike.  How unlucky would you have to be.  His death was well recorded in the newspapers of the day.

William was killed near his tent that he had set up outside the worker quarters at Murnpeowie Station.  His son, Thomas, told his family that the lightning had struck William’s fob watch.  The Station Manager, in 2012, told us there was an old tree near where the two small trees now stand at the side of the workers quarters and this was the location of William’s tent.  For whatever reason he would not sleep in the workers quarters.

The current Strzelecki Track has been realigned to go around the homesteads.  Murnpeowie Station is now 12 kilometres off the original track.  The original Strzelecki Track which William would have travelled to deliver the mail went straight past the workers quarters.

It is such a tragic story.  William had only just established himself and family in Farina when his life was suddenly ended.

William was a true pioneer of central Australia where he lived and worked.


There is no record of William owning land at Farina.